Palo Alto mourns death of faculty member

By Maria Anastacia Gutierrez
Pulse Staff Reporter

Instructor Joan Osborne

Joan Osborne, a professor of Economics at Palo Alto College, passed away unexpectedly Oct. 6, 2009.

Professor Osborne was known as a caring person. Naomi Woods, a graduate student at Our Lady of the Lake University, said, "If you asked her a question and she did not know the answer, she never simply said 'I don't know,' she always said 'I don't know, but let me find out for you.'"

Woods had the pleasure of accompanying Osborne on two Study Abroad programs: Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2008 and China in 2009.

"She made you feel like she had all the time in the world to listen and help," said Woods.

Osborne was married to Jack Osborne for 48 years and was a mother of four to Jamey, Jen, Joel and her late son Jeffrey, who passed away in August of 2008. She was a graduate of The University of Texas at El Paso. Professor Osborne taught at numerous colleges and had been a part of the Palo Alto community since 2002. Osborne's daughter, Jen, teaches at St. Phillip's College.

Mark Hagen, Coordinator of International Programs for the Alamo Community College District, recalls a moment he and Osborne shared while in Mexico.

"She wanted to experience an authentic Mexican meal. We had fantastic conversation, and that's really when we started our friendship."

Professor Osborne was a member of numerous committees on campus. She was treasurer of the Faculty Senate, a member of the International Education Committee, and devoted adviser of Phi Theta Kappa, national student honor society. In 2006 Osborne received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Teaching Excellence Award for Innovation and Creativity.

Osborne will continue to teach and help students even after her passing. She has donated her body to help train medical students at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She also has donated her corneas so that someone else will be able to see.

Mark Montemayor, a sophomore at San Antonio College, is one of the 12 students who traveled to China with Osborne in the summer of 2009.

"(Osborne) was a fantastic person. She showed me that everyone, even an overweight, visually impaired person like myself, has a chance to improve themselves. She was the most wonderful person I have ever met. I will miss her dearly."

Faculty, staff and students all noted what an impact Professor Osborne had on them. Palo Alto has lost a great member of its family.

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